Can Universal Basic Income End Our Cultural Obsession With Work? | Philosopher Andrew Taggart
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Can Universal Basic Income End Our Cultural Obsession With Work? | Philosopher Andrew Taggart


‘Total work’ was a term coined by Josef Pieper,
a lesser known German philosopher from the 20th century, and he was concerned that after
World War II there would be a time of total work. By that I take him to mean that work comes
to be the center around which the world turns. Human beings start to see themselves chiefly
as workers, and the entirety of life becomes more and more work, or work like. To see this we can begin to examine a number
of what I might call tightening conditions. So the first condition would be the centrality
of work. We’ve come to think that work is actually
the center and everything else begins to turn around it. To see this more clearly we can think about
the fact that we woke up to go to work today or that we are going home from work today. That we are preparing for work. That we are preparing to leave work. And this is happening all the way around the
world. Meanwhile we’re adjusting our schedules,
the rest of our lives, so that they are turning about it. So that would be the first condition. The second condition is subordination. That everything else in life comes to seem
as if it’s subordinate to, and to be put in the service of, work. We can think of sleeping: the idea is that
we wish to sleep well today in order to be focused and prepared for work. And that when we’re at work we wish to be
as productive as possible. So sleep becomes that which is an instrument
in the service of productivity. And we can play that game with all sorts of
different instances. The third condition is the resemblance claim. It seems as if everything else in life comes
to resemble work, more and more. So you can think of, on a day off you are
wanting to be as productive as possible, thinking about how much you got done. You can begin to think about all the ways
in which you plan and schedule time with children. The terms that begin to mark out our lives
even when we’re not actually working sound more and more work like. And the last condition I think is the most
intense and that’s what I might call cultural forgetfulness. We’ve come to almost forget that there was
a time in which work was not the center of the world, that there are other ways of life
that proceed the modern world, in which work was a part of life but was not the focus of
life. We forget that that’s still true today with
other cultures, some other cultures. And we forget that there could actually be
a time when work would not be that around which the rest of the world turns. So what I’m not claiming is that we have
actually achieved total work. What I’m claiming rather is that we are
on the verge of doing so. And then indeed we should be grateful that
we have yet to arrive at a time, a dystopian time, where work is total. Well suppose there were to come to pass Universal
Basic Income. And suppose, for the sake of argument, that
that were sufficient to meet our material needs—that is, those concerned with having
enough food, proper shelter, sufficient warmth, sufficient coldness, and the like, so that
it was enough. As one philosopher, Harry Frankfurt, calls
it we have doctrine of sufficiency. So suppose basic income allowed us all to
have enough. Then once again I think we would need to think
about what we would do with ourselves. Aristotle in ‘Politics’ says, really quite
famously, that we non-leisure in order to have leisure. And that was the way that it would be translated:
we non-leisure in order to have leisure. The question is how are we going to dwell
on our leisure?And I think we’ve been educated to a point at which we really don’t know
how to answer that question. People, I think, are struck by a very difficult
condition, which is a medieval condition, called acedia. Acedia is hard to translate but it means that
there’s a restlessness of spirit, an inability to be still or quiet in being. Instead when you watch people you see, time
and time again, that they’re actually quite restless. They can’t dwell with what they’re doing. They can’t so easily pay attention. I don’t think that’s the result of technology
but I think technology has exacerbated that condition. So the trouble with a lot of policy statements
associated with Universal Basic Income is not the particulars, not the particular policy
statements themselves, it’s rather the philosophical question: how are we going to actually occupy
ourselves? How are we going to live individually and
in community if we don’t have work as that which is governing each of our days, let alone
the totality of our lives. There are three common objections that are
made to the argument that we have entered a time that is on the verge of total work. The first objection is to say that well, certainly
we have to meet our basic needs and it is through work that we do so. And I would grant that claim. That is, I’m not actually arguing against
the idea that work would play some role in our lives, some role during our waking hours,
some role during the unfolding of our life. What I’m objecting to is the idea that it
becomes everything, the be all and end all. So once we go past the point of meeting our
own material needs, our own ability to survive, then we’ve gotten into trouble, I’m arguing. The second misconception is that people commonly
think that what I’m arguing for is work-life balance, and I’m not actually arguing for
that. That is, I think the idea of work-life balance
is actually something that total work takes up and enjoys operating with, meaning if you
actually put work on one side and the rest of life on the other and claim that work is
as important as love and joy and religious worship and philosophical investigations and
an investigation of the cosmos. If you really think that everything in life
is as valuable as work then I think that’s also a matter to reconsider. It’s rather these other matters are actually
more important than the value we accord to work. And the third misconception is that I’m
just arguing against overwork, and I don’t think that’s really what I’m up to. I think that overwork actually is a local
manifestation of total work. Instead I think it’s the case that surely
we wouldn’t probably work as much if we care less about work. That is certainly true. But I think that overwork is simply a red
herring, a way of trying to deflect attention from the ways in which, in our ordinary everyday
lives, work has come to matter to us so deeply. We think that there are simply a few people
out there who are working far too much, and we pathologize them, saying that they are
just workaholics; they care too much. But we have yet to actually investigate the
ways in which that’s true for us as well.

100 Comments

  • Alfonso Rodriguez

    Work ≠ Job.        Work is a mean to human moral.   It´s the act of focusing time and effort to produce value.   Getting payed for that is a totally different issue.

    What I share your concern about is living Healthy lives.  By healthy I mean Balanced and properly organized lives where mind,  body and soul are properly nurtured.  

    Currently the reason for this unhealthy style of living, is an education problem first and an economic problem second.    

    We need an education that helps us make the right questions,  instead of forcing us their "right" answers into our heads.   

    The above will improve our creativity and open up an infinite amount of new work possibilities.

  • Almamater8888

    People are more than willing to throw away their health on work. Look at all the dedicated desk jockeys who are overweight/obese and sedentary to the point where they can't do the most menial physical activities.

  • ExtantFrodo2

    Robots that aren't paying ANY taxes but do make it more difficult to bargain for adequate wages and health care. Last time I looked robots don't get cancer or pregnant or OHSA compliance or matching social security wages (or any wages at all) and they don't pay taxes. So long as this is not addressed, stupid debates like these will go on forever.

  • Circe

    The UBI sounds like a logical step to take when AI take over jobs. However, humanity as a whole has a lot of adjustment to do. That adjustment is mainly psychological like Andrew pointed out. Humans in the last century or so have built their identity around work and productivity, so much so that their self-esteem and sense of safety and identity is built around work.

    People like me who spent a large chunk of life studying to acquire work will suddenly feel lost when my job is replaced by robots. Giving me money (i.e. UBI) isn't going to boost my self-esteem or replace a lost identity. It isn't just about the money… Most people want to work because it gives them a sense of purpose and structure, they feel valued as part of a company/society, and taking that away is a huge blow.

    The counter-argument is always this: "learn new skills, be more creative so AI can't replace you". But that's easier said than done if you consider the possibility that not everyone is creative or willing to learn. I mean… how many Steve Jobs are there in this world? Most people spent most their lives working their butts off with the promise that they'll enjoy the fruits of their labour. Now we're telling them to "go back to college and start all over"? Damn. That's a raw deal.

    The next stage of social and industrial revolution will be a psychological struggle for many, including me. The younger generations will reap most of the benefits of course, but even they will need to learn how to deal with people who just aren't as creative as others.

  • mslindqu

    There is a misconception here about what people value. It is not their work. Most people don't care about their work. They care that they ARE working because of things like consumerism, competitiveness, and social stigma. Even if we had universal basic income it doesn't solve the problem because we're already to a point where peoples needs are met. So obviously it's not about meeting needs. It's about doing better than your neighbor. It's about pride and superiority. It's about what do people think about me? This is displayed through homeowners associates, sports, facebook.. nearly every aspect of most peoples lives today is simply a manifestation of this innate ability/desire to conquer to win. I think that you have to rewrite that part of society and until you do there isn't really a point to things like universal basic income or socialism or anything that works contrary to that basic driving force.

  • Joachim Sverd

    Your hairline is receding. It shows very well. Drop the pony tail. You are presenting nothing new, UBI is what it is. Until there is a large scale test you are as everyone else. a speculant.

  • We Deserve Better

    Yes, and it will also lead to a phasing out of our cultural obsession with consumer goods. To be clear, consumer goods are GOOD, but the obsession with accumulating them in ever increasing amounts is BAD.

  • St S

    Every thing humans do is work. I guess the real question we should be asking about work is, "For whom are we doing it for ?" The problem is that more than 99% of the time, the answer is "others" !!!

  • chuknorth

    Naïvely trusts the good nature of people, that they will continue to be productive. Who will feed the lazy without the need for 'work'? Shades of Ayn Rand, the flipside of the same coin – equally unrealistic and doomed to fail. Let nature take its toll: There are those who can take the time to comfortably contemplate UBI, then there are those who live in reality and are not in a position to create their own work, and so are dependent upon others for it. You are asking the wrong questions, mon ami.

  • MikiMaki76

    saying "imagine if we could have all our needs covered without working" it's like saying "imagine if we were all asexual and sex was not an issue in our life". we could speculate all the time about fairy tales, but to what end?

  • ɐɯɹɐʞ ɐıuɐɯ

    Why not be productive making the world better and do what you love and get paid!
    Work is important because it makes your life worth living.
    Total work is just when work is controlling you.

  • etmax1

    Interesting, I just wonder if he would feel the same if he was on the operating table undergoing a 10hr operation and the surgical team all of a sudden decided a game of golf was in order. I think the discussion has to come but it will happen gradually as more and more jobs are eliminated by mechanisation.

  • Jared Felker

    It is interesting to me that Mr. Taggart presupposes that "work," as a condition, is bad.  There is a subtle framing of his argument that preconditions the watcher to view "work" as non optimum.  But is it?  I see no reason to assume this is the case as whether one's work is pleasurable or not is totally subjective.  Also to use the word "Obsession"  he seems to equate work as some sort of mental travail to be overcome.  Really?  With no supporting argument or evidence?  Nonsense.  The premise upon which this video is based is fallacious.

    Work is simply an efficient means upon which societies can organize and individuals can create value.  This value can then be voluntarily exchanged within society.  One's positive contribution to society can manifest in a multitude of ways but for a great many it is in the work we exchange.

    Mr. Taggart paints a verbal picture that man is basically a victim that is exploited.  He describes the tightening of conditions around us.  Really?  In the United States we have more freedom to take control of our destinies than most other countries on this planet.  With just a little, dare I say, hard work anyone can get ahead in this country.  With a small amount of delayed gratification, you can create your own prosperity and not have to rely on a computer or anyone else to bequeath it to you.  Men and women are powerful.  Through their work they create.  Being a victim is a choice and I would be wary of anyone who would try to convince you otherwise for all they are looking to do is rob you that your inborn power. 

    Finally, UBI is theft.  Plain and simple.

  • illyrio mopatis

    Has this guy ever taken a social history lesson???? Today 40h working week, a few decades ago it was 48, before that it was 60, in the pre industrial period it was sunrise to sunset for 95% of the population. "Total work" what a joke – never in history has the population of western nations worked so few hours.

  • Lemon

    I am living in total work. My Parents don't want me to have a gf but rather just learning for collage all the time so that I can go to work. And the worst part is that I am not bad at school, that means I am abke to lift collage and have a social life but they don't get it…

  • Christian Pankow

    Lmao this dude is too much. He is so emotional about this topic that he's on the verge of tears, yet he doesn't even understand that the phrase "work-life balance" means you're attempting to appropriately balance the amount of work in your life, not actually balance the two concepts equally.

  • YZ

    I fully support UBI as an American who knows what it's like to live at work. Aside from all of the other systems we have that need fixing, I think UBI would be a step in the right direction considering populations steadily grow while available jobs steadily decline. If we don't have UBI someday, we'll have to face a serious impasse, and possibly even a bitter down-spiral that could take much of our country's strength and economy with it.

  • Shane Mc Grath

    Not sure what fkn planet these people live on, But it seems to me they think everyone works in an office or corporate environment, Where it's expected to do more for free and also solve problems out of the office, What do you expect when you are on higher wages!
    The rest of us just clock on for 8 hours and clock off on our minimum wage jobs, We don't take work home or give a shit about it once clocked off!
    Worst case is you find another minimum wage job, Can't get any lower unlike those corporate positions where they buy bigger houses and fancier new cars to try and keep up the "image" of making it, Then when they lose job they are in worse positions than rest of us that are used to living on basics!

  • Francesco Varrato

    "Work was a part of life" … Really? You mean when people slept with the sheeps and cows who provided meat and milk? or when people went to sleep very early to get up very early in order to work the fields? or when marble or wood were needed and people lived miserable, sick lives in function of it? This man is a practical philosopher and as such forgets what practice was before his nice coat was fabricated.

  • Brian Hatano

    Not being a philosopher, I hadn't heard of Josef Pieper and 'Total Work'. It seems this idea has immersed our society, even our religious faiths through philosophies such as the "Purpose-Driven Life", "We all were put here for a purpose". When discovering and implementing our purpose becomes the end-all, what happens when others get in the way of that purpose or become competitive in doing it themselves?
    To others' points, though, it doesn't seem like we can just walk away from 'Total Work' without a replacement. Maybe I'm wrong that is human to have a guiding overarching philosophy, but it seems that people need that, whether it be family, community, religion, national identity, or other.
    My suggestion is an ethos guided by a sense of inter-dependent community. There's a reason people fell in love with the movie Avatar, and I think it had less to do with the cheesy love story and fight scenes, then it did with the connected life the Avatarans lived.

  • Mirrors

    Wouldn't giving everyone the same amount of money just raise the prices and devalue money? Without work money has no value because there is nothing backing it anymore except work and consumption. So if you give it to everyone it will definitely just raise prices…
    Thinking about it, I'm not even sure why this sounds like a plausible idea to anyone.

  • Naturalism and Philosophy

    Space travel, exploration, caring for family and teaching our kids instead of sending them to schools… go for a good old fashioned long walk or hike.

  • robin water tree

    UBI will only make everyone obsessed with the work of whoever actually contributes to the pool of money that is redistributed.

  • robin water tree

    Sufficiency is ever changing. The minimum standard of living that was acceptable 50 years ago would be considered destitute today. Unless it is severely constrained UBI will become more expensive per recipient and in sum until it bursts like every other economic bubble. When that happens the huge numbers of UBI recipients will be unable to survive.

  • MNanme1z4xs

    Im not sure how this can work out, historically any Utopian approach in humanity always end up in failure, its just like the old saying: if things are too good to be true, then things are too good to be true. Today's work is the same as yesterday's survival, this has nothing to do with cultural, this is mother nature shaping our culture, and nothing we can do to change that. The normal state of human existence is not about having good time with all the extravagant values, all we can do is to get used to that with a thicker skin and move on.

  • DeepSpaceNinja

    Aggressive advertising creates artificial needs, time and precious resources are spent to fill this artificial demand. While you work hard so you can afford all this stuff. This cycle needs to stop, it's wasteful, inefficient and unsustainable, not to mention unhealthy.

  • Stifled Voice

    Humans are not naturally altruistic, so giving people pay for nothing would be a major cultural obstacle, but once that is done then continuous education would help fill out the hours. Maybe advance fidget spinning for the less academic and differential calculus for the brainy. Or, just looking at clouds would be a good.

  • Luis Black

    UBI has a lot of serious problems that it has to adresss before it can be taken seriously. UBI should introduce inflation, so you pretty much have to have severe price controls on pretty much everything you need to live . It really requires a great deal of social and economic controls for it functual. How many are really willing to go along with that?

  • Stndsure

    Technology will result in a condition where there are not enough jobs to go around – this is already the condition and it is getting worse. We must distribute the means of production through universal distribution of the means of production. GDP become a universal mutual fund – ownership of which we acquire at birth – this obviously is an oversimplification but doable. We can still work or great our own business to the extent that society is creating a market for our service. We need a true entrepreneurial productibe economy – but with a much fairer distribution of the economy.

  • Axiom Ape

    Universal Basic Income along with a much more conservative work week (20-25 hours), should be somewhere closer to the answer. I can see the positive and negative affects it could have, and everyone would be affected differently by it. Not working at all while having UBI might leave you with the basic things we all need like food and water, perhaps other bills, but not much beyond that.

    This will be brilliant for many people who will then have the time to pursue thier own business, hobbies, craft, etc. Some people really enjoy work however if they love their career.
    Perhaps with that extra time, and money which takes care of basic living needs, the stress of needing to work more becomes the desire of wanting to work more. At least for those pursuing their dream career. This might also be a godsend to those with labor intensive jobs or high stress environments. Now they work to pay for the extra things they want, not necessarily need.

    Productivity bonuses become an insentive companies could award like overtime pay for optional overtime (25+ hours). This way companies would keep productivity up and people would have more control over how much they worked/made each week. With UBI I couldn't see the average workplace being able to keep mandatory 40 hours a standard, but I could be wrong. Maybe anything over 20 hours is considered overtime, but you still work a full 30-40. This is all speculation and there's alot of ways this could play out.

    If we no longer needed work because of a technologically advanced utopian future with friendly compatable A.I., then I could see work being a thing of the past, or at least approached differently.

  • EvoMusic

    I think in the future many countries will probably have a UBI but America probably won't. We'd have to completely implode economically and politically before people would be okay with this. Our way of thinking is quite old. We're still trying to get back to the good ol' days with the white picket fence, 1.5 kids, and a dog that looks like Beethoven or Lassie. To change minds, it's not enough to think "the old people will die off." That "leave it to beaver" way of thinking about our identity is engrained and passed down through generations. Our way of thinking has shifted toward many things but the whole work idea is a difficult shift to make.

  • Michael Carpenter

    I think he forgets that a lot of people fill a need to be a productive part of the community through labor. Work can be VERY fulfilling.

  • Choices and Habits

    Work is driven by the evolutionary brain chemical dopamine. Dopamine is directly linked to testosterone and testosterone is directly linked to health and happiness of males. Period. You need to stop looking at this philosophically and look at this as how we as humans chemically operate. Dopamine is the reward center in your brain and we are fueled by the reward center. It's what makes us restless and was created out of a need to survive. If you weren't going out retrieving more food, then you might become hungry and die. Ergo, dopamine / reward is hardwired into our brain. To escape this we'd have to evolve to not need dopamine or we'd have to fill our time with some other sense of accomplishment to fill the gap. Friendly competition (sports, games, etc) could theoretically fill this gap. However, even if we had sufficient everything, we would still want to keep working to prevent the extinction of civilation due to a cataclyismic event (i.e. Asteroid, uprising of a different social normality) that would wipe us out. So… really work is hardwired to survival. Even if you think you have everything, your brain is gonna tell you to keep fortifying your defenses to protect yourself and the herd. Plain and simple. This is kinda why I think most philosophical debates are kinda pointless because they leave the core component of biology out of the discussion.

  • Old Wisdom

    I remember a time in America when the economy was one of invention, innovation and personal wealth building. Then we slid into a service economy where everyone works in servitude.

  • ianbernardoful

    I️ don’t want to live with just enough. I️ love fast cars and personal jets. I️ work for all of that. People make different choices my friend.

  • Curt Welch

    Work life Balance. I hadn't thought about it before this video, but not only does the phrase raise work to be on equal footing with the rest of life, it puts work before life. Why not life work balance? Exactly because we do live in a culture that has elevated work ahead of everything else.

  • Bill Bradley

    UBI, like every other utopic idea, fails to account for basic human nature. People have tried and failed throughout history to come up with a "fair" (a highly subjective term by the way) system. What inevitably happens, every single time, is that the greedy and corrupt find ways to bend the system to their benefit, every system, every time, without fail. Utopic ideas fail to account for the fact that a lot of people have no desire for things to be fair. They fail to account for basic human nature, human greed, and as such are all doomed to fail. Until your "fair" system has a check on the greedy that man has yet to come up with any system we create will tend towards an imbalance in wealth over time, not towards sharing. More likely than the sharing of wealth is an imbalance in wealth increasing until there is revolt, redistributing it and starting the process all over again, so says human history.

  • Dave Klebt

    work is good. it is not governing us, if it is true work. balanced individuals govern the work.

    most of us are not doing "work," we are have our time occupied. that is why we call our profession an "occupation." we occupy our time with things that we would rather not be doing. "work" is something that one does that enriches one's life and the lives of those around us.

    the problem we really face is that we fail to recognize much of the occupations are indeed enriching. you really can only lay around a smoke pot and watch TV for so long, before you are so bored that you cause a problem for yourself – thus forcing you to have to work on something.

    why think of your occupation as a droll tedium. you would be much happier if you found a way to enjoy your work. any, even the most tedious and seemingly meaningless action, can be imbued with a profound experiential quality. an occupation can also be "work." if only the person chooses to do so.

    enjoy your work.

    the answer for all the UBI proponents and those seeking UBI for themselves, (like healthy welfare recipients,) is indeed "work." their lives and for the rest of us will be much better if work is required. after all, we need a lot of people to pick up the trash, clean the streets, do these very important, and valuable acts.

    enjoy your work…. only you yourself can do this.,

  • Luliby

    Wow! Yes, thank you for this awesome philosophical viewpoint Big Think! This "Total Work" condition explained by Josef Pieper is part of what bothered me about the whole aspect of "work". Work is only supposed to be one part of your life, an important part, but only one part. What else are you about when you aren't working? That mention of the centrality of work is another big part of it to me. It seemed like wherever I looked, whatever thing I was looking at was mostly governed by some aspect of work. Like if you go to a restaurant, the people there who serve you are working. While doing things and working are important, you cannot be enslaved to it, and it cannot suffocate the rest of your life. It always seemed incredibly stupid to me how when you have a job, it seems to dictate everything else that goes on in your life. You have a thing to do with your family? Better hope your job isn't in the way. You have a hobby you're passionate about and there's an event you want to attend? Same thing. You want to meet up with friends? Same thing. You're into music and want to play music and go to concerts? Same thing. We should be dictating our jobs and work, jobs and work should not be dictating our lives. That's not freedom. We choose where we want to work (in general, there's more to it than that obviously) and sometimes it doesn't feel like it's quite so voluntary.

    So basically, while work is important and people should be helping out and giving back, it should be something that we genuinely want to do and something that we are passionate about. Beyond that, it's only one part of our life and it should not be central to the point where it's what everything revolves around.

  • Jess Stuart

    Scheduling and time tracking are what drive me nuts at work. You get some manager who doesn't understand the process, and puts in no extra padding into the schedule for anything to go wrong. When something inevitably slips, they get furious and blame the people who are doing their best to get the project done. I remember one time, I told my boss I needed about 35 hours to complete a project. I got 17, busted my ass and got it done in 30 hrs, and still got yelled at.

  • Rav Aharon ben Yisrael

    I think "overwork" might also be a concept that "total work" would naturally address. It goes back to your second condition of total work 1:18, where things like rest become subordinate to, and in service of, work. After all, if the goal of "total work" is to be as productive as possible, and overwork shows itself to make people less productive, then overwork would actually become an enemy of total work.

  • Aleatoriac

    I doubt it, at least until Generation X and those before die out. (I'm late Generation X, and do NOT share the usual views of said generation).

    There's a critical mass of human stupidity to contend with. Rationalization of abusive politics and the worship of ignorance and suffering… It's mind-bogglingly stupid, but it's what we do.

  • GTaichou

    Nodding along, and he's describing a uncomfortable feeling I experience of everything being work, and I notice;
    Is he wearing a gi under his coat…?

  • Andrew Lee

    but everything can be catagorized under "work" basket ball players play a game and work. you investigate philosophy and get paid for it. religious leaders also get paid. the idea is that if you contribute to society, society will take care of you so you can continue to do so. the idea with UBI is that instead of people being forced via fear of poverty into contributing unwillingly to society (can be compared to slavery or forced prostitution), the people who take up roles in society will do so willingly, and compensation for contributions or work which are undesirable will have a rise in compensation. it is not rare for friends to joke about "how much money would it take for you to ________" and the fact is the majority of people have a number. there is indeed a dollar amount where some one will do anything and be happy doing it. the UBI will push people into doing things happily, as if they are not happy doing what they are doing, they can simply stop and persue new interests.

    work will always be important, as work is just another way of saying contributing to society. even in the Bible it says that the meaning of life is to work towards the common good. this means that the butcher is not cutting meat for money, but cutting meat so his neighbors and friends can eat. the farmer is not growing vegetables for money, but to feed his community. and those who see it and are greatful for it, repay in turn with their own skills and passions. at some point, probably after full integration of the concept of money, we have become disconnected with the idea that we are taking care of each other, and rather that we are competing with each other.

    work should fundamentally be an act of love. love for others, love for yourself. love for human society. as your work will better those around you, make them happy, make them comfortable. The modern economic system makes it so a huge portion of society has no choice in this matter. it strips one of human dignity. this is why UBI is important. because at the core of humans is love and compassion for each other. without this, there can be no success.

  • Tim Williams

    I'm retired now, for the last two years, so I have a feel for what he's getting at.

    I strongly advise that folks put their energies to work doing whatever they love. A person who only loves work is demented. We work because we must, if we want to stay alive in modern society. If ones loves work AND an enjoyable pass-time, then do THAT – but don't make "work" be "who you are". That is a strange form of indoctrinated slavery!

  • currysteph

    a totally lame brain idea…it will remove all incentive for progress….this is just a form of socialism…and guess what @ 10K a year you're still poor.

  • MegaSkilla

    It is amazing how ignorant people are about UBI. This is purely funded by the state, from taxes paid by those who are already employed as that is where state revenue comes from. UBI=Welfare State=Communism disguised as Socialism…

  • Jordan

    Yes! It sucks when our culture is obsessed with work and I just to spend time with my friends and enjoy my life, I'm not a fan of this cult of business, humans haven't gotten this far, we shouldn't have people living paycheck to paycheck and others rolling billions of dollars

  • Jordan

    It's gotten to point where were just drones for the system until we die, not just to support ourselves, capitalism is gone too far!

  • Dennis R. Levesque

    The obvious answer is "yes". But, you make a lot of assumptions that are in doubt. 1st, that "work/life" balance should really be an "income/spend" balance. What good is making money, if you can't spend it? And, what good is the freedom to spend, if you have nothing to spend? 2nd, worthwhile work usually has a goal/objective which needs to be achieved. Hence the saying, "The sooner we get it done, the sooner we can quit.". "Overwork" is supposed to be a temporary condition. But, some bosses exploit that by making it a norm. Therefore, a Basic Income would not eliminate the valid "overwork" (nor should it). So, what will we do with our free-time? Well, that'd be a nice problem to have. I'm sure that we'd cope. It's better than war.

  • ghritchie

    Didn't John Maynard Keynes predict we would be working two days a week bu the twenty-thirties?

    I could not agree more that contemplation, health, and friendships are more important than work. Viewed from a global objective perspective, our obsession with work is more like slavery. We seem to have – as William Blake wrote in his poem 'London' – 'mind forged manacles'.

    What can we do to promote Universal Basic Income?

  • ghritchie

    Is it not true that to have a flow of money and capital, societies need production and those producing ought to be valued in some way for that work?

    What would happen if there was no money at all? What if we learned to use and eat only what we needed? Might status become less prevalent?

  • SeaRose

    I always think the best example of this is how we introduce ourselves and others. It’s always “this is Sally, she’s a networking Consultant”….really? Is that what Sally ‘IS’ ? Is that the essence of Sally all one needs to know? It’s pretty sick.

  • sundiii99OWS

    Donald Trump can change the world for the better because he believes in
    the MLM concept, so he should tell the world we know how to end world poverty:
    1. every person needs to have a Guaranteed Residual Income, or UBI.
    2. All jobs will be eliminated by automation
    3. Say all companies should join into one MLM company
    4. Add all people's names worldwide into one computer to join the MLM to get the UBI
    5. No one can say no because every person must have a UBI!!!
    6. Then eliminate all jobs and work with automation
    7. Then all nations need to start building only Tower cities connected to maglev Trains
    8. Tear down all cities and recycle everything being torn down to build T&T
    9. Everyone can work 10 hours a week on T&T and nearby farms
    10. Nothing can be made unless it's recyclable, especially beds and furniture
    11. Every Tower city must have all things: work and play with yard size balconies
    12. Eventually there will be no work or commutes,
    or immigration since people can then survive in their native country.

  • James Love

    I live in a capital city, fraught with government jobs, where the remaining private sector caters mostly to this public sector.
    I can say from personal experience (of which many people here share) that the main priority isn't work itself, but the perception of work.

    The idea isn't to accomplish a thing, but to wait until someone does something, and to attach your name or signature to it.
    The problem is as much one of the public sector as it is of the private sector. (sorry, left and right politics)

    The truly weird thing is that here, we'll often miss important life opportunities (time with family, seeing your favourite band in concert, etc.) not to accomplish a thing in actuality, but to simulate working.
    It's less to do with a problem of economy, and more to do with a problem of this term he uses, describing restlessness, in conjunction with the issue of the hierarchy; the most vital part of ones day is to maintain the performance of being a good little North American.

    Sort of like Flakebook updates, where the point isn't to be happy, and to express this digitally, but to simulate happiness at a digital scale.
    We don't actually work and build or create things here, but invest as much energy as possible in accomplishing as little as possible. (the status quo).

    We are truly weird chimps.

  • Qopel

    Back in the 50’s and 60’s when even a high school drop-out could make a living pumping gas, pushing a broom or flipping burgers, then yes, if you were able bodied back then and poor, you were most likely just lazy. But, now Americans are the most productive in the world. Even working 3 jobs is barely enough to survive. Sure I believe people should work for things, but come on. Minimum wage doesn’t go up like inflation does. How about people getting paid what they are worth? Republicans use the word "lazy" into shaming people to work harder for less.

  • Darna Bedwell

    Work is important because it brings home the bacon. It is a means to an end. A means to feed and shelter ourselves. "Money answers all things". And for the majority of the world work has been the means to acquire money for our essentials. Can't do much lovin' on an empty stomach. And God forbid your children have no roof over their heads because Dad won't do his "job" to see to it.

    So don't try to play work down. This UBI is beginning to sound like a brainwash scheme. To replace going to work with a measley thousand dollars a month. They will have to do better than that. That's just a suppliment. People will still have to work; if they can find a job.

    Has it occurred to the powers that be that for the sake of mankind robots don't have to take over our jobs. Enough!

    But no they want to pay us off and move into warp speed where we will have no chance of retrieving the dignity that comes with working. Sure some will muster the ingenuity to "work" their projects which they may or may not get paid for.

    But you can't start a business, pay your mortgage and eat on 1k a month. That seems to be the figure I've been hearing thrown around. All the pro UBI 's make it sound like that carries the weight of 10k.

    UBI should be nothing less than what a person is already earning; if you expect to see people content with losing their jobs and prospects for work. But I guess when this proves not to work in comes the Mark of the Beast.

  • ZFlyingVLover

    People need work/purpose to be happy. No work makes people ungrateful, unhappy and angry. UBI assumes that people cannot learn new skills. WHy? Why can't people get off their butts and learn something marketable and relevant?

    Do you get paid to cook your own meals? To clean your home? To fix things in your house? To learn how to make decisions? If you don't want to be bothered making decisions then you're an idiot(literally) because you will not have any ability to determine why a decision is a good decision.

    And that is the pt where machines will take over. When humans no longer want to be bothered with decision making then they'll cease to know how to make good decisions and be at the mercy of machines.

    Forget UBI. It is an awful idea that has failed , like communism, where ever it has been attempted.

  • Joey Pusateri

    Interesting that human beings have worked like crazy for 100,000 years to literally survive up until roughly 150 years ago and yet, in this era with unprecedented leisure, the presenter seems to think this is the dystopia of work.

  • Marc Padilla

    Incentives. Lifestyle should promote the value of Universal income. Activity and developing the life of the individual and society breakdown the whole idea of a working society or community. Pure consumerism and leisure should be avoided.

  • Orion6699

    Oh… the eternal question for progressives… HOW DO YOU PAY FOR IT??? Then you get the bug eyed Cortez who never answers the question. It would be awesome to pay lower income people… what? 30k a year? Would be awesome if it was more because 30k isnt that much now days? Who gets the money?? People who make less than 50k a year lets say? We have about 160 million people working in the US. About 70 percent make less than 50k a year… so napkin math is around 112 million would get the 30k a year for a tidy little annual sum of 3.36 trillion. Add that to the estimated 'free' healthcare for all of ~ 2 trillion a year, and all the other gravy like 'free' government jobs, 'free' college for all, 'free' transition to renewable energy… blah blah blah… the 'Green New Deal'. Overall price for that mess is over 4 trillion a year. So we now have this wee sum of what? Lets say 7.5 trillion dollars needed for annual 'redistribution' in the form of increased taxes. Where does all this money come from?? And here comes the answer! Cortez wants to tax those nasty rich people with a 70 percent income tax. THAT WILL DO IT! INFINITE MONEY FOR GOVERNMENT GRAVY!!! Not so fast Cortez! A 70% income tax on America's 'rich' is estimated to generate a little over 70 billion a year. So your… what? Only $7,430,000,000,000 short in annual tax requirements. Where did she get her economics degree, anyways? Mail order?? Oh well.

  • Albert Florian

    Is that Jesus talking about Universal Basic Income? I always suspected that it is an idea of a somewhat divine inspiration.

  • Hera Hagstoz

    I’m sorry but I gotta roll my eyes here; this line of thought is very male. I understand what he is saying but the second shift is pretty much standard and ignored. The concept of universal basic income never addresses payment for unpaid emotional and domestic labor. Otherwise this person’s argument is sort of blind to the “work” of caring for others in your immediate social group. There is no true leisure time free from anticipation for a great majority of people (traditionally women) This concept of how did work become Work is wrapped up in a value system that rewards certain types of labor over others. Now it seems that this trend of over valuing certain types of work has reached a tipping point and now he wants us to consider how this has taken over society and its framing of life vs work. Meanwhile there is a giant sub population which has forever been unbalanced and taken for granted. Universal Basic Income is a necessary step, but it would be great if these thinkers could include the economics of unpaid labor to this policy.

  • Vinícius Neves da Conceição

    Has someone watching this ever read the "Manifesto Against Labor"? It's an enlightening document. Check it out!

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